Greenpeace protesters stop illegal logging in Polands Biaowieza Forest

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Press release - 29 August, 2017

Warsaw, 29 August 2017 - Peaceful activists from 12 European countries, brought together by Greenpeace Poland, have put themselves in the way of state-run logging machinery which is violating a July 27th EU Court of Justice interim ban on logging one of Europe’s oldest forests. [1] [2] Greenpeace protesters have chained themselves to harvesters and are standing in front of other logging equipment with banners reading: ”We are the forest. We are in danger”. They are demanding that loggers comply with the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union and stop cutting down and removing trees from the forest.

A broad coalition of environmental NGOs in Poland -- including Greenpeace Poland, Wild Poland Foundation and people from the Camp for the Forest -- began the protests after their inspections of the area revealed that logging was ongoing in spite of the EU Court of Justice ban. [3]

Robert Cyglicki, Director of Greenpeace Poland, said:

“Claims by the Ministry of the Environment that only necessary logging is happening in compliance with the EU Court of Justice decision, is a lie. Our inspections clearly show that European law is being laughed at in one of Europe’s last remaining ancient forests. That’s why we’re asking the world to join our peaceful protesters who have come from all over Europe and stand against the destruction of our common heritage and demand its protection.”

In order for the Białowieża Forest to be truly protected and avoid exploiting “safety measures” as a pretext for logging, Greenpeace activists demand:

• Observance of EU law and immediately stopping the removal of timber from the oldest fragments of the forest and habitats protected by the Natura 2000 network

• Setting up a public safety commission, which will include experts from all stakeholders

• Trimming trees that may jeopardize public safety in the oldest fragments of the Forest in a way that mimics nature and leaves them in place for natural decay.

ENDS

Photos can be seen here.

Notes for Editors

[1] The ban, in detail can be read, here

[2] Peaceful protestors include activists from Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Turkey

[3] Environmentalists in recent weeks have collected evidence of breaking the provisional ban on the logging in the most fragile parts of the Bialowieza Forest. Between August 12-21, Greenpeace Forest Patrols found evidence of violation of the EU Court’s decision on 16 out of 30 forest areas logged since July 27.

The Court's decision allows for logging only to ensure public safety. Local inspections have shown that a significant number of logged trees did not pose a threat as defined by public safety. Moreover, in the Białowieża Forest area, timber was harvested and taken out of the forest, despite the exhaustion of the limit set in the 10-year Forest Management Plan to which the EU Court of Justice ruled.

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